WASHINGTON, D.C. — Democrats in the Virginia Legislature passed the Virginia Voting Rights Act on Thursday. House Bill 1890 is the first state-level Voting Rights Act in the South and has been lauded by the Virginia NAACP as “an impenetrable shield of protection for the voting rights of Black Virginians and Virginians of color when enacted.”
The legislation would “prevent voter suppression tactics by requiring pre-approval of certain changes to election procedures, protecting voters from threats and intimidation at the polls, and allowing civil action as possible recourse,” according to the NAACP. It is designed to ensure no election law can be enacted in the state that would disproportionately abridge the rights of any protected class of Virginia citizens, making it a strong barrier against local efforts to suppress minority votes.
The bill now goes to Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who is expected to sign it into law.